• 30 NOV 20
    • 0

    Journal Writing

    Read the poem below several times. As you reflect on the poem and literary elements, respond to the following statements and questions in a journal writing consisting of 250 – 300 words. Use details from the text (poem) to support your responses. 1) Identifythemes in the poem. 2) Highlight the point at which the speaker’s tone changes. Explain why the tone changes. 3) Who are the victims? 4) What does the word “this” mean in “given it all away and had nothing / left but this”? (Lines 25 and 26).

    “The Victims” by Sharon Olds

    When Mother divorced you, we were glad. She took it and

    took it, in silence, all those years and then

    kicked you out, suddenly, and her

    kids loved it. Then you were fired, and we

    5 grinned inside, the way people grinned when

    Nixon’s helicopter lifted off the South

    Lawn for the last time.8 We were tickled

    to think of your office taken away,

    your secretaries taken away,

    10 your lunches with three double bourbons,

    your pencils, your reams of paper. Would they take your

    suits back, too, those dark

    carcasses hung in your closet, and the black

    noses of your shoes with their large pores?

    15 She had taught us to take it, to hate you and take it

    until we pricked with her for your

    annihilation, Father. Now I

    pass the bums in doorways, the white

    slugs of their bodies gleaming through slits in their

    20 suits of compressed silt, the stained

    flippers of their hands, the underwater

    fire of their eyes, ships gone down with the

    lanterns lit, and I wonder who took it and

    took it from them in silence until they had

    25 given it all away and had nothing

    left but this. 1984

    8 When Richard Nixon resigned the U.S. presidency on August 8, 1974, his exit from the White House (by helicopter from the lawn) was televised live.

    Olds, Sharon. “The Victims.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Shorter Tenth Edition.

    Ed. Allison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. New York: Norton, 2010. 810.

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